Shape of the Place

Day 15

Shape of the Place

In 2019 the ground that I walked on felt wrong. The voice in my head chanted you are in the wrong place. I wasn’t where I needed to be. Another land called. Someone asked whether Ireland had triggered the homing-call-switch in people’s heads as he knew of others who’d got the urge to leave. My switch was imagining plugging my fingertips into the earth, laying flat, with as much of my body on the ground as possible. Connected, merged, in the right place, maybe? In 2020, it happened, the two of us, in two cars, two kids, two cats and two fish landed in Inishowen. A few days later we went into lockdown and like others, we began the daily walks.

The process reminded me of the work Mismash-Rehash-Megamix beginning in 2016 with the twice daily walks pushing my baby around in his pram to get him to sleep. Pacing the streets I sought the unfamiliar in what was familiar to me. All I could do was walk, look, find and document.

Textile panel, Mishmash-Rehash-Megamix, 2017

As 2020 passed, I began taking pictures of found lines and patterns. There was movement in these shapes. Rippling rock formations, grasses, ropes, seaweed, pebbles and leaves. I saw shades of green, yellow, pink, grey, blue and red, with pops of orange. The orange energised me. My materials and equipment were in storage in Cookstown so I ordered the bare essentials to begin- scissors, paper, Indian ink, two brushes and glue. Cutting, sticking, drawing. I loved the patterns and realised that these were the shape of this place. They sat there in my head all day before I could finally get to them in a spare moment. It felt like soaking them up, letting them under my skin, getting as close as I could. When cutting, I imagined the shapes moving and the collages as stills of this movement. The shapes were in block colour and cleanly cut. I wanted to give the impression that the collage was a section of a much larger space, as the patterns spilled over the edges of the paper. The shapes butt up against each other or have small gaps between them. Overlapping doesn’t work, the surface has to be as flat as it can. There is bundle of these now. Each one is backed with another layer of cartridge paper. This makes them rigid, nothing is flimsy.

Shape of the Place, paper collages, 2020


Paper collages, 2020–2021